Sometimes the past rises up to bite you in the butt, and you never see it coming!
Adam and the gang are rehabbing an old church when they come across a tunnel they believe might have been part of the historic underground railroad. The two corpses they find lying in the tunnel transform the event from one of historical significance to recent tragedy. The investigation for how the two recently murdered people got into that tunnel leads Adam and the gang through a hair-raising series of events that will affect them for a long time, in ways they could never have imagined. Will Adam’s nosiness finally cause irreparable harm to one of the gang? Or will they rise above the tragedies they uncover, and come together in love and forgiveness, becoming all the stronger for it?
The lantern formed dancing arcs on the walls, bringing every niche, every indentation into stark relief. Adam stopped a few feet away from the taped-off entrance to the tunnel and held the light up so that it illuminated the ragged opening and turned the velvet black of the area beyond the entrance to charcoal gray.
Nobody spoke for several beats. Each of them no doubt reconsidering his or her reasons for being there. Adam could almost hear the collective gulp at the eerie picture before them. “It’s not too late to back out.”
The brief silence gave him hope. Maybe Mink and Rosie had come to their senses. But then the sound of creaking rubber intruded on the silence and Mink stepped forward.
Adam glanced over and had to chew his lip to keep from laughing. “I can’t believe you’re wearing that getup, Mink.”
His friend’s head snapped around but the oversized fireman’s helmet he was wearing didn’t turn with it, so he was looking out of the side, his gaze dark pools in the low light. He looked like an eight year old wearing his father’s hat. “Why not? It’s perfect.” He knocked on the helmet with a small fist and the concussion made the thing roll slightly sideways, so that the light on top veered toward a spot just to the side of the tunnel opening but not quite where Mink was looking. “Bats can’t get to me…” He tugged on the oversized coat that nearly touched the ground. “—and if anything furry comes at me it will have to chew through the coat and the waders underneath.” He grinned. “Giving Delf time to ride to my rescue and twist their heads off.”
Behind him, Delf snorted. “More likely the furry things will take one look at you in that outfit and run screaming for their mommies.”
Mink shrugged, obviously thinking that was an acceptable outcome.
Sighing, Adam shook his head. “Just don’t pee into your waders again. It was nasty listening to you squish your way home.”
Mink’s hands found his hips and the helmet bobbled on his head. “I didn’t pee in my waders. That was sweat you were hearing.”
Rosie suddenly moved to the front of the pack and kept going. She reached the tape and grasped it, ripping it aside.
Adam opened his mouth to tell her not to tear the police tape but it was too late. He snapped his lips shut. CC was gonna kill him. He didn’t even try to deceive himself that the cop wouldn’t know it was them. CC would know.
“Sweetie, wait for us. You don’t have a light.” Maddy hurried forward with the flashlight from her purse, its glow hardly bigger than Maddy’s fist and just about as effective.
Mink stumbled after them, tripping over the toes of his oversized rubber waders.
Delf and Adam shared a look. “You know we’re going to regret this, right?” Delf muttered.
Sighing, Adam hurried forward as Rosie stepped through the hole. He knew. In fact he was sure of it.
The air near the entrance to the tunnel still carried the sickly sweet stench of decay. Adam’s nasal passages recognized the smell underneath the moldy scent of old, wet dirt. He scanned the light of his lantern over the place where the two bodies had been. The dirt was smoother there, surrounded by bootie-softened footprints and, next to the body closest to the entrance, two unmistakable knee prints where Father Paria had knelt.
“Is that where they were?” Mink asked in a hushed tone.
“Yeah.” Adam grimaced at the memory and skimmed his light away, running it over the moist walls of the tunnel. “So this is the underground railroad tunnel, Minks. Cool, huh?”
His friend’s head bobbled on his slender neck, the light on his fireman cap dancing over the slimy rock.
“Good.” Adam turned hopefully toward the opening. “You’ve seen the tunnel. Let’s go before CC’s men come back and catch us.” He scanned a look around and saw Rosie, who’d taken herself off to a spot several feet away and was staring into the inky darkness of the tunnel. She held herself stiffly, her arms down at her sides and her fingers twitching. She seemed upset.
Mink laughed. “Nice try, Ads.” He started forward, his rubbers slapping noisily against the ground. “Come on, Delf. Let’s see if there are any artifacts in this tunnel.”
The big man reached over and grabbed Mink’s hand before he could go far, pulling him gently backward. “If we’re doing this, I’m going first.” He reached beneath his tee shirt and pulled a gun from the waistband of his jeans.
Maddy’s eyes went wide. “Holy crap, Delf. Be careful where you point that thing.”
“That’s what he said,” Mink said with a grin.